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State Theory, Grassroots Agency, and Global Policy Transfer: The Life and Death of Colombia’s Escuela Nueva in Brazil (1997–2012)

Rebecca Tarlau
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The University of Chicago Press Journals - Comparative Education Review

This article analyzes the transfer and 15-year policy trajectory of Colombia’s “global best practice” Escuela Nueva in Brazil. This program, initially transferred to Brazil in 1997 with the help of the World Bank, was largely unknown for the first decade of its life span. Then, between 2008 and 2011, after the World Bank stopped funding the program, Escuela Nueva / Escola Ativa suddenly became one of the most well funded and controversial programs in the Brazilian Ministry of Education. Continual protest and unrest concerning the program led to its termination in 2012. This article argues that it is only possible to understand these developments through an explicit theory of the “contested” state, wherein the state’s purpose is understood as both social reproduction and mediating class conflicts. Drawing on the global policy transfer literature, this framework emphasizes the role of elite actors, transnational agencies, and grassroots mobilization in determining educational policy trajectories.

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Rebecca Tarlau, "State Theory, Grassroots Agency, and Global Policy Transfer: The Life and Death of Colombia’s Escuela Nueva in Brazil (1997–2012)," Comparative Education Review 61, no. 4 (November 2017): 675-700.